A Kansas middle school math teacher has sued the school district where she worked for decades, accusing administrators of violating her constitutional rights by requiring her to address students with pronouns. their favorites.
Pamela Ricard said the decision by the Geary County Unified School District and the principal of Fort Riley Middle School, where she has taught since 2005, to suspend and reprimand her for refusing to speak to a student with her preferred pronouns. Their likes violated her First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit arose from a series of interactions in March and April 2021, when Ricard repeatedly refused to call a student by their preferred name and pronoun instead of what was listed as a registered name. their signature or legal name.
Ricard was advised by the school principal, Shannon Moltthe person named as the respondent in the action, and other school administrators and employees that “Student 1” requested are given preference names other than the sex of the student’s registered name.
Another student, identified as “Student 2” in the complaint, also informed Ricard in a note that “Student 1” had changed their name and pronouns.
“I don’t know if Mr. lubbers emailed you about [Student 1’s Alternative First Name]belong to ([Student 1 Legal First Name]) preferred name and pronoun and I assume because you said ‘miss [Student 1 Legal Last Name]”As for him in class, he hasn’t done so yet, unless he has and you’re intentionally misnamed/intentionally naming him, which I don’t think you’re doing on purpose but always likely,” said the note from Student 1. “Anyway, his favorite name is [Student 1 Preferred Alternative First Name] and his pronoun is He/He. ”
Ricard hasn’t changed the way she addresses students. She also remained unchanged after Student 2 left a second note that read:
[Student 1 Last Name]his name is [Student 1 Preferred Alternative First Name] btw, his pronoun is He/He & if you can’t act like an adult [sic] & respect him & his pronouns then prepare yourself to deal with his mother because you can’t be a decent human being and respect him. Everything you are doing now shows that you are [sic] anaerobic & don’t care that you are human [sic] Obviously transparent. – [Student 2 Preferred Alternative First Name] [Student 2 Legal Last Name] (my pronoun is he/they btw).
After the disciplinary hearing, Ricard was suspended for three days. She appealed, and her request for a “religious accommodation” was denied.
According to Ricard, her Christian beliefs prevented her from accepting the student’s request.
Ms. Ricard is a Christian and has sincere religious beliefs that are consistent with the traditional Christian and biblical understanding of human beings and biological sex. Ms. Ricard believes that God has created man whether male or female, this gender is fixed in each person from the moment of conception and it cannot be changed, regardless of each person’s feelings, desires or preferences. people. Any policy that requires Ms. Ricard to refer to students with gendered, non-binary, or plural pronouns (e.g. he/he, she/she, they/them, zhe/zher, etc) or greeting (Mr., Ms., Ms) or gender language other than the student’s biological sex actively violates Ms. Ricard’s religious beliefs.
In her complaint, Ricard implied that addressing a student by their preferred name and pronoun would subject her to the whims of capricious children who had countless choose to change their gender identity on a daily basis, apparently.
“In accordance with District policy, all teachers are now required to refer to individual students — both inside and outside of the classroom — using any name or pronoun that the student claims reflects their specific gender identity. students on any given day,” Ricard’s complaint said.
Ricard implied that asking her to cooperate with district policy would be overwhelming and said gender identity issues are part of a culture war.
“The district is now asking this of Ms. Ricard even though the concept of gender identity is completely subjective and fluid, despite the limitless number of potential gender identities (with ever-expanding options). existing) and although the number of such potential pronouns has multiplied exponentially in recent years – it is all intended to lend credence to cultural ideas that Ms. share or desire to advance contrary to her core religious beliefs,” the complaint reads.
As a matter of good measure, Ricard also noted in her complaint that she disagreed with allowing students to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity, even though her case actually not related to any so-called “bathroom bill. ”
“Multiple Sclerosis. Ricard also believes that, based on scientific evidence, anatomically correct and scientifically provable sex designations control access to shared restrooms.” of public schools and locker rooms for minors,” the complaint reads. those students have access to and use of their own restroom or changing space.”
Other elementary school teachers, like Ricard, who say their religious beliefs prevent them from calling a student by their name and favorite pronoun, have had some success in similar lawsuits. A Virginia elementary school teacher and football coach is rehibilitate after initially being fired for protesting the school board’s policy allowing students to use their preferred pronouns. Another case in Virginia, this time from a French high school teacher who refused to address a student by their preferred pronoun, was currently pending before the state supreme court.
Federal Court of Appeals rule in 2021, university professors may have stronger “freedom of speech” when they are teaching.
Ricard’s lawsuit, filed March 7, comes as legislation targeting transgender youth and students and their families in multiple states is either being passed or challenged. The so-called “Don’t say gayPresent before the Government. Ron DeSantis (R), would prohibit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade schools. In Texas, one executive order from the Republican Governor. Greg Abbott categorize certain forms of treatment for transgender youth as “child abuse“And a proposed law Idaho would make the sex-affirmative treatment of transgender minors punishable by life imprisonment.
Read Ricard’s complaint, below.
[Images via Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images.]
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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/middle-school-math-teacher-claims-first-amendment-violation-sues-school-over-suspension-for-refusal-to-address-student-by-preferred-pronouns/ Teacher Pamela Ricard sues after refusing to use pronouns